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Primary & Secondary Lymphoedema Online & in the Community

Why drink Water?

You will see regularly throughout this website about the need to drink water. 

It is important for those of us who live with lymphoedema to drink more water

Don't be tempted to think the opposite

Lymph fluid is high in protein

To remove protein from your tissues you need water

Drink water means "protein-traffic" moves better around the lymph system


UK Government advice


Signs of dehydration

One of the first signs of dehydration is feeling thirsty.  There are signs to look for when you might become dehydrated.

  • dark urine or not passing enough urine when you go to the loo
  • headaches
  • lack of energy
  • feeling lightheaded

Those of us that have lymphoedema should drink lots of water, you might be tempted to think the opposite.  Drinking more water is important because lymph fluid has high protein content.  To remove the protein from your tissues, it needs water.  Drinking water means that "protein-traffic" moves better around the lymph system.

Benefits of drinking water


  • De-Stress - if you are stressed all your problems seem worse.  Drinking water provides more energy, eases tension.
  • Lose Weight - healthier than sugary drinks, helps your body work more efficiently. Helps digestion and muscle function.
  • Keeps you looking young - acts as a natural moisturiser, prevents skin drying out this is important because all of us who have lymphoedema have to look after our skin.
  • Boosts mood and Brain Power - even somebody who is mildly dehydrated can experience anger, confusion and depression.
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Cushions your joints.

Feeling Hungry?

Sometimes when we think we are hungry it is not always the case. 

  • have a drink of water
  • wait 15 minutes
  • if you are still hungry then eat

To Juice or not to Juice

Many of L-W-O members love to juice, often starting off their day with fresh fruit or vegetables for breakfast, quick fast healthy breakfast you might think.

Only juice the fruit or vegetables you would normally eat and please do not use this for diet alone.  With juicing you often remove the skin and therefore remove the fibre. When juicing fibre breaks down and is separated from the juice and left in any slush in the bottom of the juicer.   Juicing raises blood sugar levels.  Some vegetables can cause a hormone imbalance with someone who has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  Make sure you wash your fruit and vegetables as there may be either pesticide or bacteria lurking.

I couldn't find a decent article or research on juicing, you either love it or hate it.  For me personally the hassle of washing the juicer out every time I found a chore, now I simply would rather eat the fruit and veg whole.  

At the end of the day this is your personal choice.

Add a twist

Do you get fed up of drinking water on its own?  Why not add a twist?

There are many people who can't drink water simply, because they do not like the taste.  Why not add a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber or mint to give it that extra twist.



Health professionals have different ideas on what constitutes drinking too much. 

Someone I know, was asked how much they drink?  The answer 3 or 4 pints once a week.   A consultant said he thought that was reasonable, but someone else in the same group stated because it was all in one go, that was binge drinking.  Conflicting?  

To reduce the risk of harming your health if you drink most weeks:

  • men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week

Drinks and units

A 750ml bottle of red, white or rosé wine (ABV 13.5%) contains 10 units.

*Gin, rum, vodka, whisky, tequila, sambuca. Large (35ml) single measures of spirits are 1.4 units.


The reason that all this is important to lymphoedema, is that, alcohol does increase swelling.

I have given you the guidelines and trust you with your own management.

Please make sure you drink plenty of water.

One last word, when drinking at home we rarely drink the advised measurements so be aware.


This page was first published July 2014 as part of our Healthy Living  page

It was republished independently 15/07/2019 with lots more information

Last updated 15/07/2019